Marlon McClure’s spectacular 100-yard kickoff return earned him the No. 3 play of the weekend on ESPN’s SportsCenter and was still a hot topic Monday.
“I told the official before the game, when we were still friends, ‘See that guy? He might be the best player on the field,’” Mike Price said.
When asked if that return was the best he had ever seen, Price said, “Don’t forget we had Johnnie Lee Higgins around,” Price said. Marlon’s “different than Johnnie Lee. Johnnie Lee made even worse decisions. Marlon’s much smarter with the ball.
“He’s still got two years to play. We’ve got to get him the ball downfield a little more.”
While McClure aggravated a shoulder injury that has plagued him for a year, he expects to play against Tulsa.
“He’s like Trevor (Vittatoe),” Price said. “You can’t keep that guy out.”
Price chose his words carefully when discussing the first unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of his career following an unfavorable spot on a Joe Banyard run that turned what he thought was a clear first down into third-and-16.
“There were a few incidents that went against us in a row on judgment calls,” Price said. “If I had just kept my mouth shut and asked for a replay, that would have been the right thing to do.”
As to why there wasn’t a booth-instigated review, Price said, “I was told they were reviewing it. ... I don’t know about their cable service in Arkansas.”
UTEP athletic director Bob Stull said he’ll know more about the bowl situation after a conference call today, but events of the weekend made it more likely Conference USA will only have six bowl eligible teams and also increased the odds C-USA will have a seventh bowl option if seven teams do become eligible.
Houston’s loss to Tulsa means it will have to win either at Southern Miss this week or at Texas Tech on Nov. 27. If Houston loses both, C-USA is highly unlikely to have seven bowl eligible teams and all six that are bowl eligible will go to bowls.
C-USA gets first crack at Dallas’ TicketCity Bowl if the Big 10 doesn’t fill its slots. That will happen either if Illinois loses its last two games (at Northwestern; at Fresno State) or if the Big 10 gets two teams to a BCS bowl (it has three teams with one loss at the moment).
Stull indicated that the Armed Forces Bowl, being played at SMU’s stadium, has contacted SMU season ticket holders to gauge their interest in SMU playing in that bowl. SMU needs to beat Marshall this week to be bowl eligible.
The New Mexico Bowl has an agreement with the MAC to take a team from that league if the WAC or Mountain West can’t fill its slots. The Mountain West will not fill its slots if TCU makes a BCS bowl and the WAC also may not fill its slots.
UTEP’s second half time of possession woes are suddenly rather profound. In four of the last five games (Marshall is the other one), the Miners have had the ball for 11:15 or less. Specifically, it had the ball for 7:11 in the second half against UAB, 9:26 against Tulane, 11:15 against SMU and 8:12 against Arkansas.
The Miners had the ball for 16:48 against Marshall.